Top 10: Sports memorabilia sales in 2012
10) 1912 World Series Trophy - $239,000
The 1912 World Series trophy featured as part of Heritage's landmark sale at the National Sports Collectors' Convention on August 2. The trophy, which is considered to be an important relic from baseball's greatest ever championship, attracted a great deal of attention from collectors at the convention, bringing almost a quarter of a million dollars. The 1912 World Series saw the Boston Red Sox defeat the New York Giants in a breathtakingly close victory, secured by Fred Snodgrass' infamous "$30,000 muff".
9) Ty Cobb's baseball bat - $253,000
Ty Cobb's bat sold at Hunt Auctions in July. Auction house president David Hunt explained to the Kansas City Star newspaper that the bat is one of the finest examples of a Louisville Slugger: "When you have one right from Louisville Slugger's archives, it's about as good as you're going to get. This one is much better. That's how good it is," he is reported to have said.
8) A signed Babe Ruth baseball bat - $253,000
The bat, a Louisville Slugger 125 model, was signed: "To Jimmie Donahue Babe Ruth Dec 25, 24.". The signatures and inscription were subsequently given a grading of 7/8 out of 10. Donahue was a former boxer and close friend of Ruth's and the the baseball star gave many signed items to him throughout his life. The impressive, signed bat sold at Hunt Auctions in November.
7) Babe Ruth signed baseball - $316,000
Thought to be the finest Babe Ruth signed baseball still in existence, this ball was sold at Heritage in August. While the superstar slugger's famous and unfailing generosity of spirit ensured that his is the most available of all pre-war sporting legends, the tremendous demand for his essential autograph has nonetheless powered a sustained upward trajectory in auction results throughout the years. Historically, the Babe's signature has been the hobby's safest bet. This rare, example however, is one of a kind.
6) Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves - $385,848
Two pairs of Muhammad Ali-worn gloves set a new auction record on November 30 in California. The two individual lots of gloves, which both sold for the identical sum of $385,848 at SCP Auctions, now share the world record for the most valuable piece of boxing memorabilia ever sold at auction. One set originates from the 1964 fight between Ali (known then as Cassius Clay) and Sonny Liston, while the second come from "The Fight of the Century" - Ali's 1971 bought against Joe Frazier.
5) The Buckner Ball - $418,250
The infamous "Buckner Ball" from the 1986 World Series sold in May for $418,250 at Heritage Auctions, beating its $100,000 estimate by 318.2%. The ball was the very one that Boston first baseman Bill Buckner let slip through his legs in the extra innings of game six of the Red Sox's series against the New York Mets, enabling Ray Knight to score the winning run.
4) Ozzie Smith's gold gloves - $519,203
Baseball star Ozzie Smith's 13 Gold Gloves sold in a single lot at SCP Auctions in December. The former St Louis Cardinals shortstop is best remembered for his ability to make great defensive plays, winning the Gold Glove award for his position for 13 consecutive years from 1980 to 1992.
3) The Golfers sketch by Charles Lees circa 1850 - $526,110
Charles Lees' sketch sold at Christie's golf sale in May. It is the finished sketch for one of the most important and widely-known paintings of a golfing subject - The Golfers - and depicts a celebrated encounter on the St. Andrews Links in which Sir David Baird and Sir Ralph Anstruther were matched against Major Playfair and John Campbell of Glensaddell.
2) Don Larsen's perfect game uniform - $756,000
The New York Yankees uniform Don Larsen wore when he pitched the only World Series perfect game sold for $756,000 at Steiner Sports Memorabilia in December. "I really don't know what it is worth," Larsen told the New York Times prior to the auction. "But what I do know is that in terms of historic importance, my uniform is a part of one of the greatest moments in the history of sports. I have thought about that perfect game, more than once a day, every day of my life since the day I threw it."
1) The earliest known Babe Ruth worn game jersey - $4.4m
This Babe Ruth game jersey set a new sports memorabilia world record when it sold at SCP Auctions in May, becoming the most expensive item of sports memorabilia in existence. "This is simply the finest sports artefact we've handled in our 30-year history," David Kohler, president and founder of SCP auctions, said prior to the auction. "It has it all. You would be hard pressed to dream up a more desirable baseball artefact. The historical impact of Ruth's emergence in the Big Apple in the early 1920s, combined with the jersey's superb original condition, makes this a sports treasure of the highest order.
The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.
Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.
Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.